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notions. Projectors are generally sanguine. And bewitched by a kind of parental partiality for their projects, they are blind to every defect or danger. In my view, a similar infatuation prevails in this case. I can upou no other principle account for the wide difference between us: for in whatever point of view I consider the result of this plan, I form opposite conclusions. I am persuaded, it would be found more and more difficult and objectionable, in its progress, and ruinous in its consummation. In support of this hypothesis, I shall state a part and probably, only a small part, of the difficulties that would attend its adjustment and execution, and what from my reflections upon the subject might be the fatal consequence were its accomplishment effected.
Let us suppose a case (since one case will equally apply to all, at least as far as is necessary for the purposes proposed;)-let us suppose a parish producing a net revenue to the clergyman, by Tithe, of five hundred pounds per annum, and the commissioners under the authority of parliament, demanding an estate, equal to a clear annual rental of the same amount. The parishioners hold their estates under a great variety of tenures and consequently great professional skill would be required, and great professional expence incurred to regulate and settle the different proportions of the respective proprietors. The general rate of Tithe assessed, ad valorem, upon each estate, may indeed form a general rule, as it regards the parish division; but are the distinct proportions of the respective proprietors of the same estate to be easily adjusted? who can satisfactorily settle the claims of those who have a reversionary interest, who have leaseholds, who have dowries, or life estates, or entailments? whatever rule might
be adopted, it would probably sow the seeds of discontent and enmity, in half the parishes of the kingdom. In cases where estates were mortgaged to nearly their full value (which from the great depreciation in the value of land, would frequently occur) the disclosure would certainly distress the feelings of the proprietor; and so great a change in the nature of the property, and his private circumstances might seriously injure his interests.
The great variety of soil and produce, presuming that our agriculture would permanently continue in a nearly similar state, would be productive of no effects, materially objectionable but since great vicissitudes and changes, from the instability of human affairs, necessarily take place in the cultivation of land, there are circumstances and cases, in which, reasonable complaints could be allowed no remedy. I do not reckon among these the great transfer that might take place of grazing to arable land, or vice versa, between which there is so obvious a difference, in the present value of Tithes. Since under the general destruction of Tithe, any excess or deficiency, either of tillage or pasture, would without serious inconvenience or injury, naturally produce its own level. But there are other cases, in which these objections appear to me unanswerable. I will cite two instances only which will apply to all other in which the capital of the farmer is employed in the same expensive system of culture. I cite these because the tithe of the one is (or not long since was) taken in kind; of the other by a composition with the farmers for a short term of years. The former is the parish of Farnham in Surry, in which there is an extensive plantation of hops, most highly productive. It sometimes happens that a single acre of hops produces a value of an
hundred or an hundred and fifty pounds-sometimes, to the very heavy loss of the cultivator, it produces nothing. The value of the produce too, is not only precarious, but in some measure fictitious. It is dependent partly on reputation, partly on the superior mode of management. The hops grown here are not so intrinsically strong in bitter flavour, as the hops grown in Kent. The more, therefore, the value of the present produce is enhanced by such adventitious circumstances, the greater would be the degree of injustice, in compelling the present proprietors to purchase an estate equal in annual value to the present Tithes. The other instance I shall adduce, is that of East Farleigh, a small parish in the County of Kent, in which the Tithe is paid by a composition with the landholders for a short term. The living produces to the vicar a net annual income of nine hundred pounds. Of this amount, four hundred acres (or I believe rather more), principally consisting of hop plantations, and partly of orchards, tithed at one guinea and an half per acre, produce six hundred guineas. Is it possible, I ask, that because of the actual existence of a plantation, so fluctuating and precarious, which, from accidental circumstances, has swelled into an extent, containing three times the number of acres, which in the memory of those now living, it formerly did, and in which it is probable, that within another century, there will not be a third part of the number-is it possible, that so small a parish can be required, in lieu of its vicarial Tithes, to purchase or appropriate an estate, worth, clear of all expences, nine hundred a year? how many years forward we might go, is uncertain, but back to a very distant period, certainly not, when the whole rental of the vicarial land was not equal to such an amount. To compel the present possessors, upon such an uncertain tenure,
to surrender, as it were, the inheritance of their pósterity,
f I presume that the intention of those, who propose this
To place this proposition in a clear point of view, let us imagine that all the minor difficulties are cleared away, that the propositions of the respective proprietors are agreed upon, and a smooth road open to the final execution of the authorised order to the parish, to provide an estate for the incumbent, in lieu of the Tithes, that will produce an equal annual amount. The farmers, who upon questions which concern their immediate interest, are close reasoners, without logic, and clear calculators without arithmetic, will look with a suspicious eye at the exchange they are called upon to make. With their characteristic caution they will view it on all sides. They will compare what they pay now with what they must pay to effect the purchase proposed. In this comparison they will not fail to perceive that many circumstances contribute to render the exchange disadvantageous to them. They will know that if they want money, they must buy it—that on the one hand, they will have a forced sale, and on the other, they have to seek a purchase-that the sellers of cash by commission are not remarkable for their liberality,
or does the necessity of the case increase it. Upon the lowest possible calculation, an estate producing a inere rent of five hundred a year, cannot be purchased for a less amount, than twelve thousand pounds. Such is the simple purchase. The first item, therefore, is a loss of an hundred a year to the parish. The taxes must next be taken into the account, or at least, a part of them, an adequate amount of which, must be provided for in the same way, by a purchase and increased rental. This may or may not be placed to the loss account, according to the circumstances under which the parish is rated. But as a large portion of the clergy, is subject to no parochial assessments, under the conditions upon which their Tithes are rated, in such instances, it will render an equal allowance necessary. Not to reckon however upon any doubtful point, all will admit, that to a farm of this magnitude, very extensive buildings are absolutely necessary. They can in no case be dispensed with, and must either be erected at a large additional expence to the original purchase or a superior rental be provided to prevent dilapidations. In addition to these heavy losses which must be incurred, if the clergyman be awarded an equivalent for his Tithe, when it is recollected, that upon the principle proposed, each farmer will be compelled to sacrifice a portion of his business, it is clearly evident, that the landholders would sustain a serious injury, from the adoption of the plan suggested. This good, however, I trust will result from the agitation of this question-that the expensive nature of the alternative proposed will render the farmers more satisfied with the present system.
I am aware that in cases where the whole freehold of a parish belongs to an individual proprietor, the system may